Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Blues: But for the Want of a Derailleur

Turns out that front derailleur that I was going to move from one bike to this one, requires a different size diameter seat tube. I will be trying to round one up this week before declaring the Hakkalugi rebuilt. Even with that lacking component, and mismatched wheels, I was able to put some miles on the tires, dust up the paint. It meant riding it as a 1x10; I actually felt a connection to those old time Tour de France riders, the ones who competed during the era when changing gears meant getting off the bike to flip the wheel, or move the chain by hand. That is exactly what I did - from one chainring to the other as conditions demanded. It would not have worked to my advantage to race that way. 

That was probably a good thing too, because there were tweaks to work out, adjustments to be made, things that can't be noticed when the bike is on the work stand. As you would expect, it has a slightly different feel than either of the other bikes I ride on a regular basis, and the first corner I took as I rode over to Bonelli Park, on Sunday morning for the mountain bike race, was a little too sketchy. The second corner I figured the handling out, and after that... it was one sweet ride. 

I suppose this wasn't a complete case of the Monday Blues after all. True, no racing, the real test. Otherwise, it rode better than I could have hoped.

Once I get my hands on a derailleur there will be a final rebuild post with specs.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Another Loss: Ride in Peace, Philip White

It is bad enough to learn that a loved one, a family member, maybe a friend has been hit by a driver and killed. What about when you learn that the driver did not possess enough human decency to stop and render aid? I think we can all imagine the pain, the anger, the confusion that have swirled through the minds of the family and friends of Philip White, and would express our condolences if we but knew how. Maybe many reading here already have. 

In the midst of their grief, the family of young Mr. White have reached out to the cycling community to help them meet the financial demands they have, unexpectedly, come to face. A GoFundMe account has been established with this in mind. If it is in your ability to do so, consider donating to the Philip White Memorial Fund.

photo from the Philip White Memorial Fund

Philip was callously left to die in the street on September 21. The family of Philip White has not yet been able to bring themselves to visit the site where he lost his life, but are aware that a Ghost Bike has been installed in his memory, and would appreciate photographs that may have been taken. If anyone has photos they would like to share, I will forward them to the family.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Incycle Hammer Time

A lot of people may not realize just how challenging Bonelli Park can be as a location to race mountain bikes. They may say, "it's not even in the mountains, just little hills. Real challenge is a long spit to the north - those mountains there", as they look across to the San Gabriels. Don't be fooled though, Bonelli has plenty of challenge, and some of the best was tapped by the organizers for todays race.

The Incycle Hammer Time is the first of three races in the Triple Crown Series which will visit South Hills Park in Glendora next, and then finish up, as usual, with the Fall Fat Tire Classic at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC).

So, here is the link to the Flickr album, a selection of sixty-four photos this time. 

Double National Champion (Road Race & Road TT), Megan Jastrab, was on the course and took the win in her category (Jr. High).

one of the faster sections of the course

thumbs up from Steve Herrera

open trail on an open hillside

Saturday, September 27, 2014

2014 O'Melveny Cross: Thrills & Spills Start the Season

You know, often times at our local, SoCal, races I don't bother to stick around for the elites, the pro/1/2 races. They always feature as the grand finale, the last races of the day on the road. By the time they come onto the circuit I am hot, tired, and just want to go have a cold beer. I think most others feel the same way, because whatever crowds of spectators may have been out earlier in the day have dramatically thinned by late afternoon. So at Saturday's O'Melveny Cross I was pretty enthused to see that the Elite categories would be racing more towards the middle of the day. Both the men, and the women.

The men's race, in particular was a good one - a terrific slugfest between five, six, seven riders throughout the duration of the race. It was great, it kept everyone guessing who was the strongest, who would outlast the rest. The fact that there wasn't a standout, superstar in the field who could dominate the race, or decimate the field, which ever time-worn cliche you like, made the race all the more exciting. There was just no way to know who would come out on top until the very end. When all is said, when all the sweat and blood has been left out along the course, there is only one though, and today that proved to be Jules Bourdevaire (Team Blackstar / Rock 'n Road). Over on the women's side, the outcome was a little more clearcut, a little more sure, as Amanda Nauman (SDG / Bellweather p/b Krema Peanuts) continued here winning way from where she left off last season.

Truth be known, I was expecting a little more from the season kickoff - a little more course (was there even a sand pit?), a little more crowd. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of excitement and the racing was good; it all just seemed a bit lower key than in years' past. Never-the-less, if Saturday was any indication of how the season will play out, the racing action in Southern California over the last three months of the year is going to be terrific.

Some of you may have seen me pushing the rebuilt Ibis Hakkalugi around. Yes, I did manage to get it finished on Friday, or at least rideable, but not raceable. It still needs a front derailleur (the clamp for the one I have is too small), but it was rideable as a 1x10. There was no time for adjustments, no time to dial it in, no time to test it out, and I don't think anyone would have wanted to be on the course with me under those conditions. You'll have to put off heckling me until next weekend. Slainte, and check out the Flickr album here.

The hecklers ramped it up early again. Lets see if they can keep it up through the season.

Should she so choose, this little gal has a bright future in cyclocross. Quite a motor turning those pedals. She pulled away from the competition, on their short course. Until they reached the barriers, that is. Just couldn't quite lift that bike over them.

Racers along yon distant hillside, beneath the spreading oak trees.

Very minimal run up today, and while quite a few riders chose to bunny hop them, only one guy tried to take both at a single leap. The result was acrobatic.

Team Blackstar / Rock 'n Road were riding super strong, and had two or three riders in that front group. Jules Bourdevaire from the team took home the victory (the rider pictured here is not Jules).

The agony of defeat rang no truer than today. Did anyone watching not feel it. This rider was in contention all day, and was riding stronger at the end of the Elite men's race. Saying that he was going toe to toe, or shoulder to shoulder at times is no literary embellishment (if you check the Flickr set you will see what I mean. Coming in to the finish, the sprint up the paved drag, he went down hard. I didn't see it, but the inevitable crashing sounds and the crowd reaction said it all.

Friday, September 26, 2014

From the Library: Bicycle Journeys with Jerry

You know the saying it is all in the details, or the one referring to someone as detail oriented? I have long considered myself to be in that category, and may explain why I worked in a research library for so long, or why now, I like drawing up construction details at work. In writing, details are often necessary, at other times they tend to get in the way, they can bog down the writer and the reader both. 

The further into this book I got, the more I realized it was going to be a case of too many details. Rather than extracting the essence of his rides, Jerry D tends to provide a play-by-play recounting. All these details, the miles of minutiae, in my opinion, tend to bog down the storytelling. Case in point: "Then I entered the airport for real. I changed T-shirts because it smelled like cigarette smoke, and successfully navigated the self-service ticket and luggage tag, dropped off the luggage at TSA, called home (after 11 P.M. at home) and headed for security." I have to think that many editors would have filtered much of this out. What may have seemed significant at the time, does not really add much to my reading of the experience second-hand, and after the fact.

Generally speaking I subscribe to the philosophy of if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing. I know my mother used this phrase on at least one occasion during my younger years, probably more, since it has continued to reverberate over time. Thus, even though Bicycle Journeys with Jerry does tend to drag on, the fact that I have chosen to say something about it means that there are other redeeming qualities about it.

Indeed there is. Jerry D is one of us, a regular Joe who simply enjoys the adventures that await us every time we ride. And thus the adventures he shares with his readers are probably pretty close to what we would experience ourselves yet, included here are rides that we have likely never done, and quite possibly never will. You won't read about great achievements, no historical glory, just personal satisfaction. It is as simple as that.

Dusterhoff, Jerry   Bicycle Journeys with Jerry   Round Rock, TX: Acyclist Publishing, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hakkalugi Rebuild V: B.B., Cranks, Rings, & Brakes

After the previous rebuild post, you will be well aware that the bottom bracket and crankset are a compromise. Not what I originally had in mind, but after some trial and error, it became clear that only something that actually worked, would indeed work. Thus the square taper b.b. and FSA Vero cranks. At 165mm the crank arms are far shorter than anything I have ever used before, but I will give them a try. And besides, perhaps spinning is not such a bad thing in CX.

The Campy canti's on the other hand were completely planned. Still a lot to do before the season kickoff races this weekend. And that is the catch-22 - more time building, less time riding, and the past two weeks have been pretty short on the riding as it is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Interbike 2014: Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends

So, Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends is a collection of products I took special notice of, that made an impression, but did not receive their own dedicated post. Some of them are simply curious images.

Josh Bryceland. Noticed the sticker while  taking a close-up look at his downhill rig.

Selle Italia, maker of fine racing saddles, offers a colorful selection of bar tape as well

This lizard-looking creature with suction cup feet is a Seasucker bike rack. Extends your range of mounting option when a roof rack just won't do

#things that collect on a Volkswagen dashboard

Rolf Prima wheels. Oh, so nice. and much of their lineup is now made right here. Well, right here as in Eugene, Oregon.

Phil Wood hubs

Xpedo pedals. More orange would fit right in on my Ibis.

That thing that looks vaguely like a barracuda is not your fathers' chain whip tool. This is Park Tools' new cassette removal tool.

Reaching out to the cycling world from the land of Canada, Arkel makes a bevy of carry-all bags and racks, including this clamp-on model. Unlike other clamp-ons, including the mostly useless one I have, this one (the Randonneur Seat Post Rack) not only holds onto the seat post, but secures to the saddle rails as well - those three points of contact keep it from swinging side to side when transporting a gallon of milk, or more.

The Carradice Duxback Rain Poncho is like the wax coat I bought in Ireland fifteen year ago - durable and built to keep you dry. 

Chrome was once again sewing up bags...

not to mention building shoes.

"Howdy ma'am." Last year Ryders went back to the future, this year it was back to the past. The old West to be exact. Riders Eyewear goes all in with some creative and imaginative set ups. They take the term trade "show" literally and make a production out of it. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if they use the talents of a set or exhibit designer. The set up shows as much creativity as their stylish, and functional, glasses.

Velox, the world's best known maker of rim tape, also makes high-grip bar tape. I have tried various grip tapes, some fairly decent ones included. Or so I thought until I sampled the Guidoline - beats anything else, hands down. Now, I don't normally have a problem with gripping the bars, and firmly believe there can be such a thing as too much grip, but if you suffer from slippery hands, definitely try to find the Velox. Or get your LBS to order some.

The Great Wall of Garneau. There is a funny story about this... well, maybe only funny to me. I had come upon the wall at that far corner and couldn't find a way in. You see the wall is basically a sectional thing - three black paneled sections separated by the red niche areas. From that corner I could see along two sides, but not see any openings, and so I walked up the aisle to peer around the corner at my back (in the photo), only to face a continuation of the wall. I silently chuckled and headed on to the fourth, and open, side. See, you had to be there, but once I found my way in, Garneau was showing the usual quality products. I have long known the Canadian company primarily as a clothing and shoe manufacturer, but some of their bikes were quite impressive as well.

SheBeest - stylish performance wear for women

Fix It Sticks, and Fix It Sticks stickers, for when your seat post slips, and other things.

Check out Bear River Bike Park in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Somewhere along the line you may recall me noting that I favor mechanical disc brakes over hydraulics, due largely to their ease of maintenance. This year Paul Precision Components has upped the stakes for all the mech-makers. The orange is a killer color, and a Paul staple, but it would be cool if they would offer other options.

the German company, Ergon, makes a range of bicycling components and accoutrements from bar grips for mountain bikes, pedals, gloves, backpacks, and a road seat post. What I was most interested in, though, were their saddles. Without actually trying one, I did the usual pressure tests - pushing this and that with my thumbs, ending here and there to see how much give there is, etc, and decided it was my kind of saddle. As their name suggests, Ergon focuses on ergonomics, making our rides more comfortable, less painful.

State Bicycle Company has partnered with the Four Peaks Brewery to put together and offer a special edition bike. The bike itself is from State's City Bike line and includes racks/basket front and rear, leather six-pack holder, and straps to secure a full growler to the rear rack. Oh, and then there is the bottle opener on the seat tube. The head badge is not the usual State one, but rather a special Four Peaks badge. I didn't happen to notice the bike on either State's or the Four Peaks website, but you can order one through Amazon.

This review, as with all the reviews from Interbike 2014, is as honest as I can make it. I have received no payment, nor any promise of remuneration for my opinions and observations regarding the product being reviewed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's Here: SCCPSCX

So long
I've been looking too hard, I've been waiting too long
Sometimes I don't know what I will find
I only know it's a matter of time…

It is here at last. No more counting the months, weeks, the days. No more bugging your cross racing buddies with the "how much longer, How. Much. Longer?" question. No more putting 'X' marks on the calendar. No more riding your cross bike on the local mountain bike trail. No more practicing dismounts and run ups in the park, with people watching and wondering just what that crazy fool is doing. That long dry stretch of hot, empty Summer weekends has reached an end. Cross season has arrived. O'Melveny Cross, presented by H & S Bicycles kicks off the 2014/2015 SoCal Cross Prestige Series with two full days of racing.

As these last few days tick away, I am beginning to think the Ibis (Hakkalugi) just won't be ready in time. I will keep trying right up to the end, but it is touch and go at this point. Hoping is pointless. The only thing that will get it done is emptying the wallet with a sudden burst of buying and/or raiding one of the stable steeds, and some dedicated time with the work stand and tool box.

Whatever the outcome, I will see you there.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Blues: A New Bend to the Bar

Oh, the pain was intense. The left drop of the handlebars had been bent, pushed over toward the right at an impossible angle. The deafening sound of crushing still weighed down heavily, even as the roar and the rumble of the forklift, pushing its heavy load, receded down the long aisle. It took time, but the bike had learned to push its fears of those machines aside, In one flash of an instant they had all come back in vivid colors. The forklift never wavered, its red, spinning eye glowing with malevolence, it crushed then simply drove away. The bike's owner would not return for another two hours. Only then would the deformity be noticed. What would happen? How would they get back home?

It was a bike called Miyata. It carried that name right on its gleaming silver tubes, and did so with honor. It was a bike that was neither light, nor sleek, though in its time it was viewed with some respect. It did not live a glamorous life. It was not pampered with a daily maintenance routine. But it was dependable - nearly everyday it carried its owner to work in the big warehouse. Both bike and owner labored long and hard hours during their day.

Once they arrived at the warehouse the bike would be locked out of the way. It felt secure there. It was a quiet spot, but it was also light and a cool breeze would blow through. This was in contrast to the rest of the warehouse which usually bustled with activity, the people inside sweating at their labors. All this activity created a great rumbling in the warehouse, but it was mostly further away. From its locked away vantage the bike could see up a couple aisles along which forklifts drove. Forklifts scared the bike. They were brutish things, pushing large loads around, moving them from one place to another. Mostly, though, they kept away from the bike. There wasn't much in his area that needed to be pushed or moved. 

There was this once during the dark, cold time of the year, a time when the warehouse became especially busy. Extra space was needed for all the boxes and crates, and so they were crowded in around the bikes' parking spot. Stacked high, the boxes constricted the view. That is until the forklift came - the rumble grew louder and closer than it had ever done before; the red flashing of its single eye grew brighter as it was reflected off the towering boxes. There was an ominous mechanical sound and the boxes right next to the bike were lifted and moved away. 

The bike thought of that close encounter for days, weeks afterward, but things, the daily routine gradually returned to normal. Fear slipped from the bikes' thoughts - it was summer, the days long, warm and bright. It was a good time to be out in the air, it was exciting to race along the streets to and from the warehouse as fast as its wheels, and the owners' legs could propel them. Not even the rumbling and echoing of the forklifts, during the middle hours of the day, could dampen the bikes' enthusiasm for the morning ride to the warehouse, nor the return ride home in the evening.

But then it happened again. The bent handlebars that would need to be replaced. Time off the road, time away from the owner. Worse, though, was the fear that had returned. No matter how nice the morning, how colorful the sunrise, how smooth the road, the ride to the warehouse would now be tempered with apprehension, and that would remain until the ride home. Could things ever be the same again?

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Interbike 2014: Ligne 8

Seems like it was just recently that I put up a short post about Champion Systems, and here I am at it again. Well, technically this is about Ligne 8, but somewhere in the company make up, they are related. I believe the website refers to the kinship of the two as sisters.

Every year clothing companies find new ways to blur the line between form and function, between on-the-bike and off-the-bike fashion. Ligne 8 is one of those pushing the boundaries and erasing distinctions. From their website: "Ligne 8 is an new brand for the commuting city dweller, who wants to be a able to cycle to and fro, without worrying about the weather, perspiration, style or appearances."

Ligne 8 has both men's and women's lines, including coats and jackets, shirts, shorts and jeans, capes, skirts and dresses, as well as "not your typical" jerseys, for lack of a better description. I only took a couple photos at the show - the men's Copenhagen Soft Shell Jacket, and the women's Adrienne Reversible Coat. The Copenhagen is both wind and waterproof, yet breathable and elastic. Pockets abound and the "action back" allows for an extended range of motion, i.e. hunched over the bars - either the bike's or the local pub's. The Adrienne is similar in material and  function, but in a longer style. Check the Ligne 8 website for their entire line line of commuter clothing.

This review, as with all the reviews from Interbike 2014, is as honest as I can make it. I have received no payment, nor any promise of remuneration for my opinions and observations regarding the product being reviewed.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

2014 Interbke: Strange Critters

Just for fun. For what ever reason Interbike always seems to attract a collection of strange creatures, or at the least unusual critters, to the showroom floor. Among those I took note of this year were:

The vultures of Ryders Eyewear, attentively watching over the immobile carcass of a horse. Whether the evening meal belonged to the Ryders cowpoke who made the shot, I am not sure.

Critters certainly seemed to congregate at the Surly booth, such as the rabid duck in the box, the crow (or raven) on yon high perch, and the raccoon, who was very sociable - though perhaps it was his choice of beverage that made him that way.

Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 Interbike: More Fat

Felt used double-butted 6061 aluminum for their Double Double 30 frame, and coupled that with a hydroformed fork of the same material. The head tube is tapered. Disc brake mounts, a replaceable derailleur hanger, and additional mounts for racks round things out. Bike weight comes out at thirty-one pounds. I have no idea why you will sometimes see this bike referred to as the Dude - if I am not mistake the Double Double duo (DD 30 and DD70) replaced the earlier Dude duo (Dude 30 and Dude 70). But then maybe I am wrong. Anyway, Felt's Double Double 30:

The newest addition to the Surly family of Fat Bikes is the Ice Cream Truck. This monster of a bike is built around Surly's own 4130 CroMoly frame and fork. Its geometry is unique, combining elements of the Krampus and Instigator. Remember that song, Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock and Roll? Donny and Marie Osmond sang it on their weekly television show, and while I don't think either of them have any connection to Surly, that song is sort of like the Ice Cream Truck. Sort of. In the words of Surly, that geometry, borrowed from its two siblings, creates a bike that is at once nimble, while being brutish enough to bust through, or over, virtually anything in its path. Take your choice cheetah or rhino - both in one bike. The Ice Cream Truck, by Surly:

Of course, no one has jumped into the Fat market as enthusiastically as has Surly. No one has more fat bike models. The World Troller is as versatile as its namesake, Troll, capable of accommodating a number of build options. The World Troller adds another level of functionality. Surly has built in two S&S couplers allowing the bike to be broken in two for airline travel. You really can bring it with you. The World Troller:

Not what I think of when I hear the name Fyxation, but I imagine the fat tires of the Blackhawk come in handy during the winter in the company's northern state home grounds. Now, to my eye, that small diameter seat tube looks funky where it merges with much beefier tubes at top and bottom. There is no elegance to it (sorry, a little bit of the old time roadie creeping in there), and if you can overlook that, Fyxation says this wide bottom can be built to a svelte twenty-three pounds. Pretty good for a fat bike. The Fyxation Blackhawk:

The Twin Six Standard Fat is one gorgeous bike, which the well-known clothing company says comes in at only four pounds, two ounces for frame and fork, the geometry of which, they say, is competition driven. Engineered dropouts and clearance for five inch tires, but no mounting options for racks, somewhat limit your multi-day adventure possibilities, but take it out between roughly sunrise and midnight, and I am quite sure it will provide one heck of a ride. I would hardly consider this bike to be a standard model, so maybe the name is more a placeholder until they come up with something better. Or, maybe Twin Six considers it as setting a new standard in the fat bike world. This fatty is a part of Twin Six's new Operation Ridemetal line, which includes a cyclocross, 29er mtb and randonneur bikes as well. Interbike served as the launch for the line, and I can't see any of them on the website yet, but with the fatty and the randonneur due by the end of the year, they should be visible soon. Twin Six held nothing back with their satiny titanium Standard fatty:

Salsa put three years of development into the Bucksaw before its release early this year, but as you know, Salsa is a tried and true brand in the adventure bicycling world. With its full suspension, Salsa says this is the bike to take you anywhere you can imagine. The Split Pivot suspension provides "improved pedaling efficiency and braking performance". Read about the development of the Bucksaw here. Salsa's full suspension Bucksaw, in a sweet golden orange color:

Borealis made a big splash at the show last year. Their name conjures images of a weeks' long trek across the frozen tundra, but I suspect the Yampa would be equally at home traversing the Rocky Mountains or the Australian Outback. Back again this year for another showing is the Yampa by Borealis:


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